The Book is called after Moses successor, Joshua, the leader of the chosen people. It narrates how, aided by God, Joshua, with the people of Israel, entered and conquered the Promised Land which was then divided by lot amongst the tribes.
1.The Lord Speaks to Joshua. God encourages Joshua and repeatedly tells him to be
strong and take courage. God once again defines the area which is to be given to his
chosen people. Joshua 1:1-9.
2. Joshua prepares the people for the conquest. Women and cattle are to stay on the east of the Jordan while the men cross over and fight. Joshua 1:10-15.
3.The people accept Joshua. They will obey him as they obeyed Moses. Joshua 1:16-18.
4. The exploration of Jericho. Jericho stands in the path of an advance into the promised land so has to be the first place to conquer. The two spies enter the house of a harlot. By so doing it is less likely that they will arouse suspicion. The harlot, Rahab, has heard the story of the Israelites, how they crossed the Red Sea and how God has been with them throughout their time in the desert. She protects them and hides them. Joshua 2:1-7. B.C.
5. She makes a pact that she will help them if they promise to save her and her family. They agree. (It is believed that Rahab later changed her immoral way of life and lived among the Israelites. See Joshua 6:22-25.) Joshua 2:8-24.
6. Crossing the Jordan. The Ark of the Covenant is carried in front of the army of Israelites. The waters of the river Jordan cease to flow even though it was the time of flood waters. As with the Red Sea they cross on dry land. The Ark of the Covenant remains in the middle of the river-bed. Joshua 3:1-17. (In 1927 an earthquake caused a blockage of the river water which lasted for twenty one hours.)
7. Twelve stones are taken and used as a monument to the river crossing. The Ark of the Covenant is carried out of the river-bed and the waters return. Thus the people revered Joshua as they had Moses. Joshua 4:1-24.
8. Circumcision. This had not been practised during the forty years in the desert. Now, was the time for the new generation to renew their Covenant with God. (Bronze knives would have been available but flint was used as a traditional method.) Joshua 5:1-8.
9. The manna has stopped as the people are now able to prepare their bread from the produce of Canaan. Joshua 5:9-12.
10. The fall of Jericho. The man with the sword was an angel of the Lord. Thus Joshua is assured of victory. Joshua 5:13-15.
11. For six days The Ark of the Covenant is carried around Jericho proceeded by seven trumpeters and followed by the Israelite army. On the seventh day they encircled the city seven times and at Joshuas command the people shout and the trumpets blast. The walls of Jericho fall. Rahab and her family are saved. Every other living thing is destroyed men, women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys. Joshua 6:1-23.
12. The city is burned but gold and silver and articles of bronze and iron are saved and put into the treasury of the Lord. Joshua 6:24-25.
13. Joshua pronouces a curse on the city and on anyone who may rebuild it. Joshua 6:26-27. (The curse was fulfilled when Hiel sacrifices his eldest and youngest sons. See 3 Kings 16:34)
14. Achan of the tribe of Judah had kept a robe and some gold and silver for himself. For this sin the Israelites were defeated by the people of Ai. God tells Joshua that the defeat is due to stealing which is a breaking of the Covenant. Achan owns up to his sin and is stoned to death and his stolen items burned. Then the Lord turns from his anger. Joshua 7:1-26.
15. Ai destroyed. At the Lords command Joshua sets a trap and the people are routed. This time the Israelites are allowed to keep the plunder for themselves. The only person of Ai to be saved is their King and he is then hung on a tree. The city is raised to the ground. Joshua 8:1:29. B.C.
16. Joshua builds an altar on Mount Ebal and renews the Covenant with God. He copies the Ten Commandments onto stone. He then reads the whole of the words of the law - blessings and curses. Listening were the whole assembly of Israel, including women and children, and the aliens who lived with them. Joshua 8:30-35.
17. Through fear the people of Gibeon trick the Israelites into making a treaty of peace. Although Joshua eventually realises he has been tricked he cannot break the treaty. Instead the Gibeonites are reduced to slaves. Joshua 9:1-27.
18. Other Kings in the area of Gibeon hear of the treaty and plot to destroy Gibeon. The Gibeonites send a message to Joshua asking for his help. The unusual weather seems to have helped in routing the enemy. "More of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the Israelites." The Bible story also tells of the "sun stopping in the middle of the sky." All the southern cities of that area were conquered. Joshua 10:1-43.
19. Northern cities destroyed. Joshua and his army destroyed the cities of the North just as they had done in the South. In all thirty-one Kings had been killed. Joshua 11:1-23. & 12:1-24.
20. God tells Joshua of the land that is still to be defeated and defines the areas to be given to the nine tribes plus half of the tribe of Manasseh. (The Levites as priests are not given a territory, God is their inheritance. The other half of the Tribe of Manasseh and the Reubenites and Gadites had already chosen territory to the East of the Jordan. See Numbers 32:1-42.) Joshua 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18; 19.
21. Cities of Refuge. The Lord tells Joshua to set designated cities of refuge. These were a safeguard against vengeance protecting any who caused accidental death. Joshua 20:1-9.
22. Towns for the Levites. They are given forty eight cities which ensure that they are dispersed amongst the tribes. Joshua 21:1-45.
23. The Eastern Tribes, having kept their obligations to help in the conquest, return home with Joshuas blessing and a share of the plunder. Fear that they may be forgotten prompts them to build an altar as a witness and token of solidarity. Joshua 22:1-34.
24. Joshua, in his old age, summons all the elders, leaders, judges and officials of all the tribes. No single successor is being appointed. It is therefore vital to ensure that everyone keeps the law and remains faithful to God Joshua 23:1-16.
25. The Covenant is renewed. Joshua recites the story of the Israelites from Abraham through to their present day. He exhorts the people to continue to serve the Lord with all faithfulness. The people answer "Far be it from us to foresake the Lord". Joshua 24:1-27.
26. Joshua dies and is buried at Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim. Joshua 24:28-31.
27. Josephs bones, which had been brought from Egypt, are buried at Schechem in a tract of land which his father, Jacob, had bought. Joshua 24:32.
28. Joshuas son Eleazar dies and is buried at Gibeah. Joshua 24:33.